There are few treatment programs for deaf children who have severe emotional or behavioral disturbances. Most programs are residential in nature. While these programs provide a much needed service, they are not available to every child that needs treatment. Further, many children do better in smaller, family oriented environments than they do in residential treatment programs. Therapeutic foster care approaches are increasingly being used in many places as an alternative to residential treatment for hearing children.

Until recently, such programs have not been greatly utilized as an alternative to treatment for deaf children. When deaf children are placed in such programs, they often fail, for all the same reasons that traditional hearing programs fail to meet the needs of deaf patients of any age. The model described in this article takes the emerging therapeutic foster family approach and adds a novel component; training deaf families to become therapeutic foster parents. This article will give specific information on how the program in Missouri was established and what problems arose, and what solutions were tried.